Once and Again
Gardenia

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Niki: A | 1 USERS: A+
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Gardenia

Cut to Manning Manor, where we're hiding around the side of the garage, behind the garbage bins, so we can watch Rick's truck pull into the driveway. Cut to Rick wheeling the bins along the side of the garage. He stops. Pricks up his ears. Looks perplexed. Decides that the sound, which can only be described as guitar homicide, is definitely coming from the garage. He leaves the bins where they are so that he can investigate.

Inside the garage, he finds Eli viciously attacking a defenseless instrument. He rolls his eyes and closes the door loudly. Eli looks up from the slaughter with surprise, alarm, and guilt flashing across his face. He asks Rick why he's home. Rick moves into the room and wearily says he forgot some sketches. He idly picks up a CD case and strolls around with it, trying to remain calm and avoiding looking at the deadbeat. He asks if Eli has the day off. "Not literally," Eli admits. Rick puts down the case and looks at Eli. "Then what are you doing home?" he asks quietly. Eli takes a deep breath and confesses that he got fired. Rick registers the news and sinks under the weight of his disappointment. He asks when. "Three weeks ago. And two days," Eli says, shifting his eyes around. Reeling, Rick asks when Eli was going to bother telling him. "Now?" Eli says, lamely, with a desperate attempt at a chuckle. Yeah, you're well past the age of "cute," my boy. Rick thinks so, too. He sits there, head hanging, trying to make sense of it. "Dad?" Eli asks. Nothing. "Dad, are you okay?" Rick can't look at him. He dazedly shakes his head and hooks his thumb at the door, muttering, "I have to get these sketches to the office." He gets up and leaves without a glance. Time to make the models....

Cut to the high school, where it's between classes. Jessie strolls down a staircase, and a dorky little guy comes flying up behind her, wondering if he can ask her something. His burning question? "Will you have sex with me?" Jessie doesn't even break her stride. "Okay," she says easily. Tickledick slows a bit and blinks hard, dumb-assing, "Are you serious?" Jessie finally stops and piles urgency onto her voice: "Yes, but it has to be today." Too bad Numbnuts suddenly has a basketball practice that he can't get out of. That, and he just wet his pants. Jessie offers an unconcerned "Sorry," and floats off down the hall. Toehead follows her for a few steps and calls out, "Jessie, you're a fox!" And you're going to be palming it awhile, son, if that's the best you've got. His idiot friends agree. Jessie rolls her eyes and doesn't look back. She passes Katie, who heard the boy make an ass of himself. Katie follows Jessie to her locker, looking intrigued and somewhat territorial. Katie flings herself up against the locker next to Jessie's with a casual "Hey." Jessie asks her if all guys are idiots, or "if girls just mature earlier." Katie smiles, "Boys never mature. You should see my brothers." She changes the subject by holding out a CD and saying, "I got you something." She explains that it's Billie Holiday, whose music an uncle introduced to Katie when she "was still a Brownie." I'd think that were cool if she hadn't made such a point of it. Jessie asks who Billie Holiday is, and Katie explains that she's "this amazing singer. And anything bad that could happen to someone happened to her." Katie grabs the brush in Jessie's locker and starts stroking her hair with it, dreamily saying, "She always wore a white gardenia in her hair." Jessie grins and says it's so nice of Katie to give her the CD. Katie slows her brushing and stares intently at Jessie, saying that she thought of Jessie when she was listening to it the other day. She stares just a second longer than necessary, and Jessie looks down into her bag to break the look. Katie gets it and says, "Well...I gotta go." She slips the brush back in Jessie's locker and strides away. "Thank you for this!" Jessie calls after her, smiling.

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Once and Again

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